HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — In addition to playing really well lately, the Orlando Magic have become one of the more interesting teams in the league.
Stan Van Gundy is making MVP declarations, he insists Bull All-Star Derrick Rose has already won the award despite the Magic’s All-Star big man, Dwight Howard, being just as deserving:
“I don’t think it’s wide open,” Van Gundy said. “The media seems to have made their decision and they’re the ones who vote, so I think it’s over.” Asked to make the case for Howard, Van Gundy said: “To me, with his rebounding, his scoring and his defense, I just don’t think there’s anybody that impacts as many possessions in a game as Dwight does. I think Derrick Rose has been great. I will have no problem at all if Derrick Rose wins the MVP. They’ve got the best record in the East; he’s been clearly their leader. You can make a great case for him. I have never been running down another guy. I think it’s a hard choice to make…but I still don’t think anyone impacts the game as many possessions as Dwight does.”
As much entertainment as Van Gundy provides, the his players are cooking up a hockey-themed stunt for the playoffs that should make things even more hilarious around the locker room in the coming weeks.
After much deliberation, they have decided to grow playoff beards. And they have vowed not to shave them until their playoff run, however long it ends up being, is over. The NBA Finals don’t usually end until mid to late June.
For guys like Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas, Earl Clark and Ryan Anderson, that shouldn’t be a problem. They’ve all sported some facial hair at times throughout the course of their careers. It’s normally clean-shaven guys like Howard that we can’t wait to see sporting a little shadow or chin scruff.
The instigator, Quentin Richardson, explained to the Orlando Sentinel where the playoff beard idea came from:
“It’s one of those team things,” Richardson said. “Togetherness. It’s something fun at the same time. It’s going to definitely look funny, I know.”
The players said they collectively made the decision between Monday’s victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers and Wednesday’s win over the New York Knicks.
“We talked about doing something as a team,” center Dwight Howard said.
“We thought about the bald heads, but some of us — myself — don’t look right with a bald head. Then we thought about letting our hair grow out; then [we realized] we’ve got a lot of guys who are going bald, so [it would] look funny with just patches in their head.
“So the beard is the only way to go. It’ll be tough for me and the young guys to really get it going, but we’re all in this together.”
Growing beards is a tradition in hockey, with players from the eventual Stanley Cup champions often hoisting the coveted trophy with ragged facial hair.
Rather than wait until the NBA playoffs start in mid-April, Richardson has started growing his beard with three weeks remaining in their regular season. Other players say they’ve doing the same.
If the Magic’s run lasts as long as they expect it to, things could get seriously out of control in that locker room. And if they let Van Gundy participate we could all have some serious fun with this playoff beard stuff.